Reflections on Military Service: The Return to Civilian Life
Penn Mutual’s long-standing commitment to veterans is evident in their support of programs that assist in transitioning to civilian life and offer career opportunities in financial services.
The company’s support of veterans reminded me of my own transition to civilian life. I served as a yeoman in the U.S. Navy for nine years and, coming from a big military family, I knew my transition wasn’t going to be easy. However, my military career led me to the type of work I do today.
What many people don’t recognize is that the military is not a job — it’s a lifestyle. You don’t go to work and come home at night. You are on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A positive effect of military life is that the bonds you form are unlike anything you’ll ever make anywhere else, and those bonds are forever. I see people that I knew 20 years ago and it feels as though time never passed.
Building a support network outside of the military can be difficult. I am fortunate to have found a home in financial services, which, like the military, allows me to feel like I am a part of something meaningful and bigger than myself.
My Transition to Civilian Life
As VP of Business Transformation at Penn Mutual, I am responsible for aligning the company’s change agents with the corporate strategy and building strong cross-functional teams. It’s a leadership role, one my background in the military prepared me for.
With the business transformation model, we are only able to achieve our goals by working collaboratively. Many of these goals are large, multi-year efforts that can seem intimidating at first. Ultimately, instead of trying to tackle the goals all at one time, which can be overwhelming, we break up the tasks and achieve more as a team. While serving in the Navy, I learned firsthand the importance of teamwork.
In boot camp, my group and I were tasked with cleaning and reorganizing our disheveled barracks in a short amount of time. Instead of giving into chaos, natural leaders emerged. We quickly divided the focus areas to small groups and were able to complete the task more efficiently as a team. Leadership is an important skill I learned during this time, and I continue to apply these lessons with my team today. Essentially, it’s about empowering those around you, nurturing your team’s differences, and allowing them to grow.
Helping veterans start a new career
My leadership experience and connection to the military led me to my most recent role as an advisory board member at The American College Penn Mutual Center for Veteran Affairs. When Penn Mutual CEO Eileen McDonnell invited me to join the board, I was thrilled to combine two of my passions: my career in financial services and my personal relationships, which are largely military families.
The center provides scholarships and career opportunities to active and retired service members and their spouses who would like to pursue careers in the financial services industry, which is a natural fit due to the leadership skills demonstrated in the military. Serving on the advisory board, I help veterans find a profession tied to a greater cause — giving them a sense of purpose outside of the armed forces.
I feel strongly that the company you work for should align with what you believe in. This holds true for many, especially veterans. Considering my journey, I knew I needed to be at a company with a sense of purpose. Fortunately, for me, Penn Mutual has been that.
If you or someone you know is a military veteran interested in starting a career in financial services, get more information on The American College Penn Mutual Center for Veteran Affairs website.
This post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as specific financial, legal or tax advice. Depending on your individual circumstances, the strategies discussed in this presentation may not be appropriate for your situation. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Always consult your legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.